During March, the increase in PLF of individual carriers ranged between 4% and 12% compared to the same period last year.
The demand for air travel continues to be high with airlines’ reporting higher growth in passenger traffic. According to DGCA data released on Wednesday, domestic air passenger traffic increased by over 28% in March compared to the same month last year with domestic carriers carrying 11.58 million passengers. Carriers have been adding new routes in their network thereby creating more capacity with demand remaining high, which can be seen in increasing passenger load factor reported by the airlines even in the month of March which is generally seen as a lean month. During March, the increase in PLF of individual carriers ranged between 4% and 12% compared to the same period last year. AirAsia was the only carrier which reported a decline in PLF.
The top five airlines — Indigo, Jet, Air India, SpiceJet, and GoAir — flew with load factors between 83.6% and 95% in March.
Air India’s PLF jumped to 83.6% last month from 74.6% it recorded in the same month last year. The airline has introduced new routes under the regional connectivity scheme — UDAN — in the last one year. “We have added around 15 domestic routes including routes of UDAN,” an Air India spokesperson said. Market leader Indigo’s PLF stood at 89%, up 9% from March last year. The airline has added new routes like Chennai-Mangalore, Hyderabad-Nagpur, Hyderbad-Tirupati to boost its wide domestic network.
Jet Airways’ PLF was up around 9% to 86.6% from Mach 2017 level of 79.5%. Budget carrier SpiceJet recorded the highest PLF amongst all scheduled carriers at 95%. The increase in its PLF was close to 4% from 91.4% last March. It added flights on 30 new domestic routes like Delhi-Jaisalmer, Hyderabad-Chandigarh and Jaipur-Guwahati. The airline commenced operations on seven UDAN routes which it claims have an occupancy of over 90%. “Clocking 95% occupancy in the traditionally lean travel month of March is an achievement that we are proud of. For three years in a row, SpiceJet has flown with the highest load factors in the Indian aviation market” Shilpa Bhatia, chief sales and revenue officer, SpiceJet, said.